Treatments for vulvar cancer

If you have vulvar cancer, your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your health and specific information about the cancer. When deciding which treatments to offer for vulvar cancer, your healthcare team will consider:

  • stage
  • if the cancer has spread to any lymph nodes
  • size and location of the tumour
  • type of tumour
  • your personal preferences and overall health

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society. Vulvar Cancer. 2014: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/vulvar-cancer.html.
  • Klopp AH, Eifel PJ, Berek JS, Konstantinopoulos PA . Cancer of the cervix, vagina and vulva. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 72:1013-1047.
  • Levine DA, Dizon DS, Yashar CM, Barakat RR, Berchuch A, Markman M, Randall ME. Handbook for Principles and Practice of Gynecologic Oncology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer; 2015.
  • National Cancer Institute. Vulvar Cancer Treatment (PDQ®) Health Professional Version. 2017: https://www.cancer.gov/types/vulvar/hp/vulvar-treatment-pdq#section/all.

Treatments for stage 1 vulvar cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 1 vulvar cancer. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the woman with cancer.

Treatments for stage 2 vulvar cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 2 vulvar cancer. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the woman with cancer.

Treatments for stage 3 vulvar cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 3 vulvar cancer. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the woman with cancer.

Treatments for stage 4 vulvar cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 4 vulvar cancer. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the woman with cancer.

Treatments for recurrent vulvar cancer

The following are treatment options for recurrent vulvar cancer. There is no standard treatment for recurrent vulvar cancer. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the woman with cancer.

Surgery for vulvar cancer

Surgery is the primary treatment for vulvar cancer. The type of surgery depends mainly on the size of the tumour and stage of the cancer.

Radiation therapy for vulvar cancer

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. Radiation may be used for vulvar cancer.

Chemotherapy for vulvar cancer

Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer (cytotoxic) drugs to treat cancer. It is usually a systemic therapy that circulates throughout the body and destroys cancer cells, including those that may have broken away from the primary tumour. Chemotherapy is sometimes used to treat vulvar cancer.

Follow-up after treatment for vulvar cancer

Vulvar cancer behaves differently in each woman, and a standard follow-up schedule would not work for everyone. If you have vulvar cancer, talk to your doctor about a follow-up plan that suits your individual situation. Follow-up for vulvar cancer is often shared among different cancer specialists (oncologists), the surgeon and your family doctor.